Best Outdoor Havens on Campus to Escape the Hustle of College

Our return to in-person learning provides a fresh approach to outdoor campus spaces.


Benches behind Aiken Hall. Photo: Elizabeth Marando.

Returning to in-person learning after being cooped up inside for so long makes Champlain’s outdoor nooks seem much more inviting. Their convenience and uniqueness allow us to experience college in relaxed settings, however hectic it may be. Champlain is known for its Victorian dorms and outdoor balconies with sunset views, but there’s solace to be found even on your average bench.


Miller Information Commons Bench Circle

Behind the Miller Information Commons (MIC) lies a quiet and calming enclosure surrounded by bushes and flowers. It’s a great place for contemplation or a private rendezvous. Some art classes have even spent time outside to capture its charm among other campus locations such as Aiken Hall.

Miller Information Commons bench circle.

Rozendaal Courtyard

It’s a social space with the benefit of unexpectedly running into friends. Its staircase is so comically large that it almost feels playful to sit on. Nearby are picnic tables outside the Ireland building, its adjacent wall of vines adding a whimsical feel to it. Given its proximity to EATs, it’s a convenient place to eat outside as well.

Aiken and Finney Quads

Both of these areas provide tables, chairs, or better yet, the ground. Laying in the grass and giving yourself a break from the rigidity of chairs and desks can feel surprisingly comforting. 

Skiff Hall Marble Benches

Similar to the MIC, CCM, and Perry balconies, this area presents a view of Lake Champlain and its cityscape. However, these benches deliver a closer look. The neighboring school blocks part of the horizon, but it adds a peaceful ambiance. It’s quiet, spacious, and offers more room to look at the clouds.

Dorm Common Spaces

Porches, front lawns and back yards are easy to take for granted but so relaxing when one takes the time to stop and appreciate them. Each dorm offers their own turfs where residents can create memories together. The front porch of Pearl Hall, for example, is where I met a lot of new faces as a freshman.


These quaint little pockets of campus are not nearly as special without friends to experience them with. Moving forward, I hope their usage continues to provide us relief, or, at minimum, newfound vantage points.